Samantha De Bono Counselling Bromley

Bromley & Harley Street

tel: 07588 931 401

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Are you Dating An Abuser? (Part I)


I was recently a guest on Liberty Radio’s Pearls & Perils Live Broadcast.  It was a discussion show about Domestic Abuse, a subject I’m extremely passionate about.  I feel strongly about doing whatever I can to inform and assist those going through it, or getting over it.

The show was only an hour long, so we could hardly even skim the surface of this emotive subject.  However, here’s a quick look at early warning signs.  Be aware though that one of these signs does not an abuser make, but listen to your instincts, don’t ignore them and if something doesn’t feel right.... it probably isn’t!

Quick Mover:  

Normally, healthy relationships take time to grow, they are organic. Both people learn about each other over time.  We can become infatuated quickly, but normally, we don’t commit to a person at an early stage.  The Future Abuser moves much faster than that.  The Abuser hasn’t got time to mess about getting to know you, because in fact, he/she isn’t that bothered.  What bothers them is that if they wait too long, you might get to know him/her, so The Abuser needs to move quickly.  He/she says “I love you” very soon into the relationship, when they couldn’t possibly know you well enough to know they love you.  The Abuser talks of marriage or wants to move in with you as soon as possible, you are “the best thing that’s ever happened to me”, “I’ve never felt like this about anyone before”  - and all this is likely to be stated in about 4 weeks or less.

Mr Angry:

The Abuser blows up and gets angry easily over what appears to be nothing, he/she can take anything as a criticism and their anger will be out of proportion to what’s happened.  For example; you say “I can’t remember if you said you like bike riding or not” and The Abuser flies off the handle – “why don’t you listen to me? If you cared about me you would have REMEMBERED what I said, what is WRONG with you? You must be STUPID” – you are left feeling totally shocked and confused about what just happened.  The Abuser may throw things, or act aggressively, punch a wall or kick something or drive too fast.  He/she may get into fights or you hear about fights they have had with others.  At first, you will just witness this, but not far down the line, it will be turned on you.

Confidence Killer:

First of all you might not notice that The Abuser is putting you down or criticising you.  For example you get dressed up to go out and he/she says “are you wearing that?” this will make you question whether you look alright and you’ll then be accused of being too sensitive or trying to twist his/her words, or that you are trying to start an argument.  The Abuser may make fun of you in a way that hurts your feelings and makes you feel insecure and then will say it was a joke, or that you have no sense of humour.  The Abuser will make comments about your weight, looks, dress sense, intellect and ability to do anything.  Eventually, this persistent chipping away at your confidence, will make you believe he/she is right, that you aren’t good looking enough, intelligent enough or able to do anything.  The Abuser invariably cheats which adds to your belief that you aren’t good enough.

Covering all exits:

When you first meet The Abuser, it is easy to mistake control for devotion.  They say things like “don’t go out with your friends tonight, stay in with me, I miss you when you’re gone”.  He/she might be crafty and book tickets for something, then claim he/she forgot you had an evening planned with friends. It’s not uncommon for The Abuser to claim that your best friend made a pass at him/her, this makes you feel unsure of your friend and begins to break down the friendship.  The Abuser will tell you that your friends don’t like him/her and that they make him/her feel uncomfortable, when in fact he/she will make friends and family feel so uncomfortable that they stop visiting.  Before you know it, your circle of friends has diminished; you don’t go out without The Abuser and seeing friends or family just isn’t worth the interrogation and/or aggravation it causes.